NY corrections captain sued for telling subordinate to commit suicide

Capt. Latanya Brown has also been accused of encouraging and inciting harassment, violence

Thomas Tracy
New York Daily News

MANHATTAN, NY — A cursing city correction captain nicknamed the “Terror of the Tombs" is being sued for screaming, cursing and harassing her subordinates — and, in one case, telling an officer that she should “commit suicide,” says a new lawsuit.

Capt. Latanya Brown also is accused of challenging her subordinates to fistfights and encouraging inmates at the Manhattan Detention Complex to threaten officers she didn’t like, says the suit filed by Officers Chudney Warren-James and Desiree Jacob.

A lawsuit against NYDOC Capt. Latanya Brown alleged she told a CO to kill herself and repeatedly incited violence against COs. (Photo/Latanya Brown)
A lawsuit against NYDOC Capt. Latanya Brown alleged she told a CO to kill herself and repeatedly incited violence against COs. (Photo/Latanya Brown)

In one of the vile verbal threats outlined in court papers, Brown allegedly told Warren-James, a female officer, that she was going to put her “d--- in your big, fat, nice a--," according to court papers.

“N-----, you think you so perfect,” Brown told her, adding that she thought the officer’s “body must be fake.”

In the same conversation that Brown told Warren-James she should “commit suicide,” the lawsuit states.

Brown “regularly created a hostile work environment” and “made sexually explicit and unwelcome comments and continuously threatened violence” against Warren-James and Jacob as they guarded inmates at the Manhattan jail complex, known as “The Tombs.”

Among the incidents laid out in the lawsuit filed by Warren-James and Jacob — which was filed in September — is a claim by Jacob that Brown often screamed at her in front of prisoners and once encouraged an inmate to threaten her.

Brown allegedly got the inmate to tell Jacob, “I know Brown. She is from my neighborhood, so watch what you say about her okay, b----? She puts your a-- in check.”

The two officers complained to Brown’s supervisors about the captain’s behavior, but nothing was ever done, the lawsuit claims.

Brown got into an argument Dec. 6 with Warren-James and threatened to assault her in the women’s locker room, the lawsuit, filed in September, states.

“Can you hold it down in the locker room?” Brown asked, according to court papers. “(You) just don’t f---- know what I’ll do.”

Shortly after that incident, Brown was briefly suspended and transferred out of the Manhattan Detention Complex after the Daily News inquired about the complaints against her, including that she had allegedly pulled a gun out of a locker as she argued with a DOC officer.

In February, Brown sued the department and Warren-James and Jacob, claiming they disclosed “private information” about her.

The DOC reinstated and brought Brown back to the MDC in the spring. On Friday, after the Daily News inquired about the lawsuit, the DOC removed her from the MDC once again, a source with knowledge of the case said.

Audio recordings of Brown acquired by the Daily News last year depict a hotheaded boss who repeatedly lobs F-bombs at the officers in front of her.

"I ain't nobody's f----- p----," she said during one recording. "I ain't playing. The gloves are off. I have the brass...not the belt. The gloves are off. Get your f---- ass out of here."

Brown’s rantings have been so demeaning that she’s made hardened Correction Department employees cry, an officer said.

“She’s like a bully who always wants to fight you,” one officer explained. “A lot of people are afraid to speak to her.”

Attorney Daniel Kovel, who represents Warren-James and Jacob, did not respond to requests for comment about the suit.

Brown joined the DOC in October 2001 and made captain in 2007. She declined to comment when reached.

The DOC referred all inquiries about the lawsuit to the city Law Department.

“The city takes these claims seriously and doesn’t tolerate the type of conduct that is alleged," a Law Department spokesman said. "We are in the process of answering the complaint and will know more as we proceed with this case.”

McClatchy-Tribune News Service
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